Far Rock mother assaulted, brain damaged her baby: DA

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A Far Rockaway woman was arraigned last week for allegedly injuring her baby while trying to get her to fall asleep, the Queens district attorney said.

Nyemah Nickens, 20, of Mott Avenue, was charged with first-degree assault Sept. 6 for allegedly shaking her 7-month-old daughter Nyla, Queens DA Richard Brown said.

Nickens, who could be charged with more counts if the baby’s condition worsens, was at her boyfriend’s home in South Jamaica Sept. 4 when Nyla started crying, so the mother shook her until she stopped and fell asleep, according to the DA.

The baby was eventually hospitalized and listed in critical condition for brain damage, Brown said.

“Instead of protecting and nurturing her helpless, innocent child, the defendant is accused of tragically assaulting her. This case is a grim reminder of the fact that never, under any circumstances, should a baby be shaken,” he said in a statement.

Around 5 a.m. Sept. 5, Nickens heard her daughter crying and when she went to check on her, found the baby had a swollen eye, was stiff on one side of her body and unresponsive, Brown said. Doctors diagnosed Nyla with subdural hematoma, widespread brain swelling and retinal hemorrhages and, although procedures were done to relieve the swelling in the brain, she remained in critical condition as of press time Tuesday, according to the DA.

The mother was ordered to return to court Sept. 20 and, if convicted of her current charges, faces up to 25 years in prison, Brown said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Updated 6:20 pm, October 10, 2011
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